Our rule of thumb for feeding a crowd is to keep it simple and ask for help (and provide refreshments)! Whether holidays or just a weekend at the lake with friends and family, food is at the center of all of the festivities, cooking and preparing the meals together makes it all more special.

Our welcome for guests is a hot pot of coffee,  fresh fruit, sweet rolls, muffins, or donuts, perfect grab and go food so everyone can enjoy the outdoors with no fuss. During the summer watermelon and blueberries are our favorite fruits to serve. Our fourth of July weekend celebrations also included a gotcha party for grand puppy Bear, so we used some new colorful kibble bowls as some of our serving dishes.


Lunch was a fun smorgasbord with pulled chicken sliders using Festival’s Shredded Chicken sold in party pails and Beer Cheese Sauce (recipe) or Honey Mustard Sauce, this sauce was made using equal parts of your favorite honey mustard and honey, whisked together. We also had Big Rick’s BBQ sauce on the buffet as a condiment for the shredded chicken with arugula, sliced cheese, and some juicy fresh tomato slices, serving slider size sandwiches allowed our guest to sample different sauces and condiments.



No 4th of July celebration would be complete without some firecrackers, except we prefer the edible type. We purchased wonton wrappers and use Festival’s buffalo chicken dip as the filling, give the ends a twist to close and deep fry to a golden brown. We serve the firecrackers with Blue Cheese or Ranch dressing.

firecrackers rawfirecrackercooked

Remember, we said you should ask for help and our guests came through with some delicious additions to our meal. A Fruit Pizza from this Betty Crocker recipe, substituting Cool Whip for the whipping cream in the recipe, so delicious and refreshing.

fruit pizza

Everyone pitched in making dinner as well, our salad was a delicious Mandarin Pasta Spinach Salad with Teriyaki dressing, tossed together right before dinner was served and perfect with our premium pork baby back ribs. We cooked our ribs in a roasting box and season simply with seasoned salt before cooking and of course Big Rick’s BBQ sauce is always on hand.


While the ribs were cooking we did the prep work for our favorite Smashed Potatoes recipe so we were able to smash those potatoes together with all of the other ingredients right before serving and we had our water boiling so we could pop the sweet corn in to cook while the ribs rested after they came out of the roaster.

 Smashed Potatoescorn

Of course we did find a little free time during all of our cooking for a fun beer tasting (in our mini red plastic cups, obviously) and while not every beer was enjoyed by all, each person quickly found a tasty favorite.

beer tasting surly IMG_1361

In between all of that eating, all of us enjoyed lake time with some glorious weather for the holiday weekend, even the dogs.

4th dogs

Cheers to a great summer!

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